Before I list the five starting pitchers for the 2021 World Series team, I’d like to give my reasoning as to why you won’t see a few guys that might be on said team.
Adrian Morejon – Adrian Morejon won’t be on this five-man rotation because he is simply too young and too inexperienced to be on a playoff roster just yet. I do envision the young lefty reaching the big leagues in 2021 but only for a short time. I believe Morejon will be a September call-up or maybe even a mid-season call-up. He will just narrowly miss the postseason roster.
Anderson Espinoza – We have not gotten to see as much of Anderson Espinoza as we’d like to since he was traded to the Padres from the Red Sox last trade deadline. Much to do with injuries. Espinoza was sidelined this entire year thanks to an injured elbow that he had Tommy John surgery on just a couple of weeks ago. I think injuries will plague Espinoza for his entire career and he will have a tough time reaching the big leagues because of that. I may be wrong (I hope I am).
Luis Perdomo – In Luis Perdomo‘s case, I see him simply being forced out of his roster spot because of the competition that other young prospects have created. It is possible that Perdomo spends 2021 up and down from El Paso or maybe he gets traded some time along the next four years. It was very tough creating this 25-man roster, and he was just another victim of the fierce competition that the Padres can potentially have in just a few short years.
Now on to the starting rotation for 2021.
1. Cal Quantrill – RHP
Cal Quantrill is someone who I like very much, and that is why I made him the ace of this staff. As of now, Quantrill throws a low to mid-90’s fastball with a lot of command. He also has a changeup that scouts say is one of the best in minor league baseball. With three to four more years of experience and teaching from Darren Balsley, Quantrill can only get better. I see the former Stanford Cardinal getting much better. By the year 2021 he has the potential to be a perennial all-star and even a Cy Young candidate. Hopefully Cal Quantrill can lead this staff and this team to a few pennants and World Series wins.
2. Madison Bumgarner – LHP
The Padres will make a big splash in the 2020 free agent market and sign former Giant Madison Bumgarner. A.J. Preller will see that he needs some playoff experience on his roster and he will snag one of the best playoff pitchers this sport has ever seen. Bumgarner will come and join Quantrill to make the best one/two punch in MLB. He and Cal will be mowing down hitters, and both be competing for the Cy Young. In 2021 Bumgarner will be in his age 31 season, so he will still be in his prime. He’ll maybe lose a few ticks on his fastball, but overall I see him being the same Madison Bumgarner, if not better, than we saw day in and day out. Madison Bumgarner will continue his marvelous career and add a ring or two to his already heavy hand.
3. Eric Lauer – LHP
Eric Lauer is one of the more experienced prospects in the Padres’ farm system. He has dominated hitters for years. In fact, he had an ERA of 0.69 while playing college ball at Kent State. I see him continuing that dominance all the way up to the major league level. Not quite that dominant, but he could be a very good number-three pitcher in a very good pitching staff. Lauer has already shot up the Padres’ minor league system just like he said he would do back when he first got drafted in 2016. He is currently in San Antonio playing for the Missions and is performing quite well. He has seen a slight increase in ERA and other statistics with the move up to AA, but that is expected. He is still young as he still has to get acclimated to his new surroundings. After he does that, he will more than likely get back to his solid performances he put together in Lake Elsinore. By 2021, he has the potential to be one of the best mid-rotation starters in MLB.
4. Michel Baez – RHP
This young Cuban prospect burst on to the scene this year when he made his professional debut and started mowing down hitters in both Arizona and Fort Wayne. He also is expected to be promoted up to single A Lake Elsinore since he has been dominant in both leagues. Baez stands at 6 foot 8 and weighs a solid 220 pounds. At that stature, he may be moved into the bullpen, but I can see him staying as a starting pitcher and pitching every fifth day for the San Diego Padres. He consistently hits mid to upper 90’s on his fastball, even touching triple digits at times. With that fastball, and many other advanced pitches, hitters are batting a measly .145 against him. Michel Baez has the potential to become a very good pitcher and I see him quickly reaching the majors.
5. Mackenzie Gore – LHP
I wanted to make Mackenzie Gore the number-four starter, but that would make three straight left-handers, starting with Bumgarner. So that makes Mackenzie Gore one of the best five starters in all of baseball. In 2021, Mackenzie Gore should be up in the majors and he should be able to make the playoff roster. I think once he does make the roster, he will make the most of the opportunity and prove that he belongs in the big leagues. He has a four-pitch mix and all of his pitches are very consistent and very good. His best pitch is probably his fastball that has jumped up in velocity since last spring, hitting 94 miles per hour. Even in the postseason, Gore might be moved into a bullpen role and the Padres might go to a four-man rotation, but I believe Gore will be good enough to make that playoff roster and contribute in that playoff run.
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